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Conformation critique
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Jacquie
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Joined: Fri Mar 23rd, 2007
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 Posted: Sat Feb 2nd, 2008 07:31 pm
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Hi

Is there anyone who would be able to give me a conformation critique on this horse please.

I really need to see if my view of him is correct, as it is so very difficult to assess your own animals I find! He is my beloved horse, so don't be too rude, the girls are my kids too and so is the dear little Lipizzaner in the background. That poor lad had not been ridden at all well  before we bought him in October 06, so although he has improved from when we bought him, he is still rather saggy in the tummy area here!

I am not going to say much about the main horse in the pic, except that I bought him aged just 3 years old, he is 16:2hh, 6, rising 7 years old (July this year) and only came into ridden work last June. He is half Irish draught and half Appaloosa. The pic was taken last August, after he had done only 2 months of ridden work.

I will be so interested to see what people say..........................

Attachment: small Fox pic.JPG (Downloaded 468 times)

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Feb 3rd, 2008 08:13 am
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Jacquie, I don't really want to critique your horse, and I don't want anybody else trying to do that either. It's certainly OK for you to have posted the photo here, because it is your own animal. But I don't want critique. I want you to LEARN THE PRINCIPLES by which livestock is judged. Then you do your own critique-ing or judging.

The way you begin in this area is by looking. I will be happy to guide your observations. So let's begin by asking the following questions:

1. What is the relationship between the length of the animal's head as measured from poll to tip of muzzle, vs. the length of its neck as measured from poll to peak of withers?

2. What is the relationship between the length of the freespan of the back as measured from peak of withers to peak of croup, vs. the bodylength as measured in the photo from the point of shoulder to the point of buttock?

3. Locate the palpable base of the neck (by the method I have previously explained numerous times in this Forum). How does this general area compare to (a) the height at the core of the loins and (b) the height at the withers?

Jacquie, these questions address the three least attractive features of this horse. You need to see what those are. Then we'll go on to discuss the many more numerous good structural points of this horse.

By the way, the Lippy is extremely handsome -- what a find, I wish I owned him. He does not have a saggy belly; he's fit and strong. Horses are not to have tucked up underlines. His is normal. Use his neck to compare the Appy's to, it will help your eye, as the Lippy's neck is perfect. Cheers -- Dr. Deb

Jacquie
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 Posted: Sun Feb 3rd, 2008 09:19 pm
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]Hi Dr. Deb, thanks so much for helping me with this. I did not realise it was not OK to do a critique - sorry. I am grateful for your help as ever and hopefully I can get a better understanding of this matter. Perhaps I should have called the post 'conformation confirmation'!! 

I already knew that the Appys back was long when I bought him, but decided to forgive him this imperfection.

I also know that the Appys neck is a little short and his head large. (It was absolutely MASSIVE when I bought him aged just 3 - as were his knees, hocks and hooves, so I hoped he would grow into it!)

He is less downhill than he was - he has see-sawed his growth upwards since I bought him and his withers have grown even more since this picture was taken, but he is still a bit heavy on the forehand I think - but all of these are judgements I have made by my own 'methods', - not by yours and I want to learn your methods as they are more 'scientific' than mine.

Here goes. The relationship I have measured between his head length and his neck length is awkward as it is not quite 2/3. ( the measurements are c21/26 making the ration 2.62/3.25.

I think he is straight necked, with a slightly too low set to the base of his neck, which is a bit too short but I don't think he is ewe necked, hammer headed or bull necked.

His back is very long. The measurements were 28/ 54 making his actual back more than 50% of total body length.

I am a bit at sea with the understanding of the measurement of the height difference between the base of neck/ core of loins, but the measurements on the pic from the withers height seem to be 10 = base of neck/4= core of loins, if I am measuring from the right places. I am not sure what this means, but I feel this may support my theory that he is a bit too low and therefore inclined to be heavy in front.

I don't think this shows in this photo, but he was also looking 'rough coupled' for a time, showing (I think) that he had weak loins.  This seems to have improved now.

You are so right, - the Lippi is an absolutely marvellous horse and was, as you say, a real find. I saw his lovely neck - and knew it for what it was too, even though it was built up underneath by insensitive riding and his tendency to become strong and come back at you. He really has improved his shape a lot since I bought him in Oct 06. Here is a pic of him taken soon after I bought him. He is currently getting his probable arthritic hocks sorted, (vet X-rays are happening tomorrow) so he is not being ridden for a short time until we get him more comfortable.

Fox, the Appy can telescope his neck quite impressively and I will put a pic of that happening on the next post.


Attachment: small storms shape.JPG (Downloaded 437 times)

Jacquie
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 Posted: Sun Feb 3rd, 2008 09:25 pm
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Hi

 

Here is Fox moving and telscoping his neck a bit - he does it much more if I ring a little christmas bell near him - and he looks magnificnent! His neck looks so much longer when he does this action, it completely changes his whole appearance.

Jacquie

Attachment: small Fox moving.JPG (Downloaded 435 times)

Sam
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 Posted: Tue Feb 5th, 2008 05:22 am
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Hi Jacquie,

Thanks for starting this thread, I was wondering what some of these terms were too.  Your horse looks a similar shape to my little chap, am going to measure his head to neck ratio tomorrow....an interesting exercise.  He too is long in the back and I wouldn't be surprise if his head turns out to be as long as his neck!!!  I think I best get my mits on Dr Debs conformation books too!

Regards Sam

Jacquie
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 Posted: Wed Feb 20th, 2008 11:10 pm
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Hi Dr. Deb

 

Here I am in USA on holiday with my laptop! Finally I have time to look at this thread again!

How do you feel I did with my response to your questions?

In short, Foxs' bad points are that he is long backed for sure, not sure if he is straight necked or a bit short necked and his head is too big. His back has levelled out finally and he is no longer rump high, thankfully!

 

kind regards

Jacquie

DrDeb
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 Posted: Fri Feb 22nd, 2008 07:33 am
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So where are you vacationing in the big wide USA, Jacquie? I hope wherever it is you're having a real good time.

Of course you did well with the discussion -- NOT critique -- of your horse's conformation. You can see as well as anybody else.

Now what is more necessary and a lot better use of your time, will be to figure out what the meaning of the proportions your horse presents is. Because there really are very few horses that are totally worthless because of their BUILD. There are indeed a lot of horses that are totally worthless, but that would be because of the way they're handled, not because of the way they're built.

What we want to get at with your horse or anybody's horse is this:

(1) Based on the structure presented, what is the likelihood that the horse will live to be 20 years old and remain sound (barring accident) the whole time, for whatever use you have in mind for him.

(2) What will be his physical joys -- the things he finds easiest to do.

(3) What will be more difficult for him to do -- things you'll have to figure out how to help him with.

This is the basis for designing an individualized training program.

Cheers -- Dr. Deb

Jacquie
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 Posted: Fri Feb 22nd, 2008 11:43 pm
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Hi

 I am skiing at Killington! Fantastic fun, great instruction and plenty of intermediate slopes to choose from. I will return!!!

 

 Dr. DEb wrote:
1) Based on the structure presented, what is the likelihood that the horse will live to be 20 years old and remain sound (barring accident) the whole time, for whatever use you have in mind for him.

I reply:

Hopefully I can ensure I dont hurt his back or front legs and he can last this long. I think these two features are his weakest points, but perhaps I am wrong.


Dr. Deb wrote:
(2) What will be his physical joys -- the things he finds easiest to do.


I reply:
He seems to enjoy learning all new things as he is very bright - and he gets a real happy face from being congratulated on getting something right and he often offers to do it all over a again imediately. He really is very obliging and eager to please, bless him.

Dr. Deb wrote:

(3) What will be more difficult for him to do -- things you'll have to figure out how to help him with.


I reply:
I think Fox will find it hard to collect, as he is long. This is probably what he needs to learn most though I think.  I am not sure if he should jump too much as I don't think his legs will take it. he is a big horse. he finds it hard to balance too as he is big and clumsy, but this is improving all the time as he gets older. I do trotting poles, transitions, serpentines, loops, walk-halt-rein back-walk sequences and shoulder in in the school and take him out for hacks a couple of times a week too. He is terrified of tractors in small lanes - the tractors here are massive and the lanes a very small, so it is understandable. I sometimes get off or stay on him and  talk to the driver for a while to settle him, but he really is very scared. Luckily I know many of the local farmers and they are understanding, but we need to work on this as he will get increasingly dangerous otherwise.

What would you do with a horse like Fox? Am I on the right track do you think?

Kindest regards

Jacquie

Sam
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 Posted: Fri Mar 7th, 2008 06:16 am
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Hi Jacquie,

This thread got me totally inspired. My horses think I have gone mad with the tape measure.  I have been very lucky and Cathie has let me have a read of Dr Debs Principles Of Conformation Analysis 1 and 2 so far.  I get to look at my horses in a totally different light.

I have had a really puzzle over teaching GS to step back under saddle, we just couldn't seem to get it together... Pg 46 in vol 2 held the answer.  GS is hammer headed and ewe necked, long in the back, wide in the loins, down hill by 2inches, has great legs, deep in the groin, and in need of much belly therapy.  But the answer to step back under the rider was for me to look like a loony...but I got the most lovely back up, soft, joyous and one step at a time, three cheers for GS!!  My hands had to be really low, so low my backside was in the air and head in the snuggly mane!  As I understand it at present his conformation and musculature need my hands to be down there...if  they are higher his conformation gets him stuck, and he can't move his feet!

Don't you just love light bulb moments....the horses certainly do when I get one!

TTFN

Sam

DrDeb
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 Posted: Fri Mar 7th, 2008 06:37 am
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Sam, right, but also be sure you're not exerting continuous backward traction on the reins. To ask for a backup you need to connect your right hand with either the horse's right forefoot or with his right hind foot. The forefoot is sometimes easier at first; the back foot is your ultimate objective. You connect with the foot; as soon as you feel the animal shift its weight to the opposite SIDE in order to be able to lift that foot, you totally release any pressure. The rein needs to be totally slack.

Then, when the animal has completed one step, you may ask for the next step, on the opposite side. So you ask for one step at a time.

When you get this part working, you will find that even though the base of the horse's neck is far below your hands, you will not need to deform your position in order to obtain the lifting of the base of the neck and the arching of the neck that is its immediate consequence. For when the horse arches its neck, the base of the neck rises -- and the height of the croup falls -- relative to the rein. Starting, however, the way you are -- by realizing that the rein MUST cut the base of the neck or below it -- gives the animal, and you, a chance to get the process started. -- Dr. Deb


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